Finnish Politics This Week – “Presidential What?”

It has been a painful few weeks, for two good reasons. First, we will be having an election to choose a new president and, second, we have a government than is steering a sinking ship!

First the election for president

Back in the old days we were served up a president from what is now called the leftovers in the food and beverage industry. Then presidents were former older politicians who were approaching their “best before date”. They stayed at the job for one or two terms, shook hands with a lot of VIPs and other lucky folk, and had a nice house with a great salary and pension to boot. They have never had much power except in times of war.

The whole point of their existence is confusing because in today’s world we have democratically elected governments without any need for ceremonial kings or presidents. The only people who benefit are hanger-ons, butlers, cleaners, and cooks along with wives who enjoy elevated lives in posh surroundings.

Unfortunately, a few decades ago some smart Alec in politics decided that we needed to elect a president to make him the people’s president! So we now have:

“former older politicians who were approaching their “best before date”. They stay at the job for one or two terms, shakes hands with a lot of VIPs and other lucky folk and have a nice house with a great salary and pension to boot…”

Now with Putin’s war, NATO, with Sana Marin flying into the arms of Tony Blair, and a sinking ship of a government, we have a desperate competition between two or possibly three candidates from the major parties hitting it out with scripts written by their respective media groups!

The choice that we are given is effectively limited to a former Green Foreign Minister, a male Conservative former PM, and a female Minister of Finance from the Soc. Dems. There is also a Center Party central banker, but your correspondent has never taken him as seriously as a running candidate as he takes himself! There are a few other non-starters, with one rather refreshing outsider who speaks well, but also has no chance in hell to arrive at the finishing line.

The above gang of three are probably the reason that Finland did not have elections for presidents for most of our one hundred years of existence! Their speeches and debating skills are from scripts, every word, every one of them, lacks passion and, for most of us voters, our own partners would make better presidents.

The media has tried its best to make interesting stories about each candidate à la BBC’s “Hard Talk”, but honestly, who bothers watching third-rate TV programs or reading articles on these people when they have nothing original to say or do!

The voting slips should have a new part to vote on “No President Please”. If that receives an absolute majority then we do away with the position and save a pretty penny.

Second – The Sinking Ship Government

The Prime Minister, a Conservative, seems to be unable to control his Finance Minister, who splashes the headlines with comments like “we have to slash taxes” followed by “we have to increase taxes” or like “there is a healthcare crisis” and an “education crisis” and “let’s reduce taxes because that gets people working more” or “lets cuts unemployment and healthcare benefits”, and we should all remember the election promise of the True Finns in Part 3 of their election manifesto:

Finns need to be cared for – One million Finns live at or below the poverty line. Low income affects your whole life and your choices. Arbitrary cuts must be stopped and the mistakes of the 90s recession must not be repeated. The Finns must be cared for now.”

Not only is there intense infighting for visibility within parties, but there is fighting also between the parties in government, there is rising unemployment, and increasing public debt contrary to their election promises! Strikes are affecting the economy and getting worse because the government is pushing through needed reforms by dictating the terms and refusing to negotiate with the unions. The result will be very bad for the economy. Finally, the government is not reforming the publicly controlled pension system where three private companies have been outsourced to manage the huge pension portfolios without any real controls over their costs and extravagant administration. Your correspondent, a n experienced investor specialist has written about this scandal for decades and yet nothing is done because the lobbyists and other interested parties are funding the politicians! Huge sums of money are being wasted each year on poor investments, wasteful administrative costs, and inefficient outsourcing of fund managers.

Yes, it looks like a sinking ship…

Painting; Titanic sinking (1912) by Willy Stöwer – CCO Wikipedia

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